OTTOVILLE — All eyes were fixed on Continental’s Alex Hoeffel every time she touched the ball.
And even with Ottoville following her every move, she was able to find enough daylight to fire away.
Hoeffel had three goals and one assist Thursday night to power Continental to a 4-0 girls soccer victory against Ottoville at the Ottoville Sports Complex.
The victory gave Continental of at least a share of the Putnam County League title at 3-0.
“It feels really good,” Hoeffel said. “It was an amazing second half from all of us. We played together as a team.’’
The Pirates (10-3-1) have one PCL game left against defending PCL champion Kalida (2-1 PCL), which can also win a share of the title if it can defeat Continental.
Hoeffel’s three goals gives the junior 39 for the season and 124 for her career.
Ottoville is 8-4, 2-2 in the PCL.
Ottoville was able to stay with the Pirates in the first half, thanks to the play of midfielders Haley Hoersten and last year’s PCL player of the year Kasey Knippen.
Continental led 1-0 at the half before going on to dominate the second half.
“In the second half we all came together as a team,” Hoeffel said. “We wanted to win the PCL for our seniors.’’
Continental coach Toby Bidlack said, “In the first half they had us on our heels a bit. Those two, Hoersten and Knippen, are two of the best players around here.
“We wanted our players to be more aggressive, offensively, and that included our midfielders getting into the attack a little more.’’
Hoersten was passing out of the midfield and playing defense on Hoeffel.
Knippen was ripping shots at the net from 25 to 30 yards out.
But Hoersten left the game at the 24-minute mark of the first half when she was hit with a line-drive shot to the face from point-blank range.
She returned five minutes later and continued to help the team’s attack.
“Our girls didn’t wear down,” Ottoville coach Doug German said. “We played a monster (first) half. But we came out in the second half, they put another one in (to make it 2-0) and the sails kind of went out. We weren’t passing the ball well and were chasing the ball.’’
After being bottled up most of the first half, Hoeffel managed a breakaway late in the half.
She picked up a loose ball 45-yards out and dribbled it around a couple of defenders and straight into the box.
Hoeffel went low, left into the net from 14-yards out to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
That came with 6:41 left in the first half.
It also gave Continental a 7-5 shot advantage in the first half.
But all that changed in the second half.
The Pirates ended up outshooting the Big Green for the match, 21-6.
Continental went with three defenders in the second half, moving defender Trinity Prowant to roving midfielder. She was a passing midfielder, but also got back on defense to defend Knippen.
“Knippen shaded a little more over on Trinity Prowant’s side and Trinity did a heck of a job giving her all sorts of fits and making her uncomfortable,” Bidlack said.
Also, the Pirates’ Riley Fetner moved from the midfield to join Jensen Armey and Hoeffel up front.
The Pirates made it 2-0 when Hoeffel connected on a high chip shot under the bar from 25-yards out. That came with 38:20 to go.
“I really thought the first goal in the second half really kind of sprung us,” Bidlack said.
At that point, Continental took control of the midfield.
Hoeffel, with the ball at the top of the circle, passed the ball to her left across the circle to Addy Armey, who connected on a high shot to make it 3-0.
That came with 7:08 left.
Hoeffel got the hat trick on a goal from 20-yards out, in the middle of the circle, off a pass ahead from Fetner.
That made it 4-0 Pirates with 4:33 to play.
Ottoville goalkeeper Ashlee Landin had 13 saves.
Continental goalkeeper Angel Brzozowski had four saves for the shutout.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.